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The New Dealer

The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

Celebrating Pride Month: A Journey Through History


Happy Pride Month, everyone! I hope you’re all as excited as I am for events like the Pride parade and the opportunity to learn more about queer culture throughout this month. As a young bisexual woman, and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the origins of Pride Month. This is a time to honor the many heroes whose courage and efforts have paved the way for us to celebrate loudly and proudly.

### The Beginnings: The Stonewall Riots

The history of Pride Month is deeply rooted in the struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights and equality, with its origins tracing back to the Stonewall Riots of June 1969. Located in New York City’s Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn was a sanctuary for many in the LGBTQIA+ community. At a time when police raids on gay bars were common, a raid on the Stonewall Inn sparked a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the community.

In the early hours of June 28, 1969, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn decided they had endured enough. The ensuing riots lasted for six days and are widely considered the catalyst for the modern LGBTQIA+ rights movement. Figures like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Stormé DeLarverie emerged as leaders and symbols of resistance, advocating for the rights and dignity of queer individuals.

### The First Pride Marches

In the wake of Stonewall, activists recognized the need for continued visibility and advocacy. On the first anniversary of the riots, June 28, 1970, the first Pride marches were held in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. These marches were not just a celebration but a call for equality and an end to discrimination. Participants marched under the banner of “Gay Liberation,” demanding rights and recognition.

These early Pride events were met with resistance and hostility, but they also marked a significant shift in the LGBTQIA+ community’s visibility and activism. The success of these marches inspired more cities across the United States and around the world to hold their own Pride events.

### Pride Month is Born

The momentum from these early marches grew over the years, and June gradually became recognized as Pride Month, a time to celebrate and affirm the LGBTQIA+ community. In 1999, President Bill Clinton officially declared June, “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month,” and in 2009, President Barack Obama expanded the recognition to include the entire LGBTQIA+ community.

Pride Month now features parades, festivals, workshops, and various events that highlight the diversity and vibrancy of the LGBTQIA+ community. It is also a time for reflection and remembrance of the struggles and sacrifices that have led to increased visibility and rights.

### Honoring Our Heroes

Pride Month is an opportunity to honor the many heroes of the LGBTQIA+ movement. From the Stonewall veterans to activists like Harvey Milk, Audre Lorde, and Bayard Rustin, their courage and determination have paved the way for the rights and freedoms we enjoy today.

The rainbow flag, designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978, has become an enduring symbol of LGBTQIA+ pride and solidarity. Each color represents a different aspect of the community: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony, and purple for spirit. The flag is a reminder of the diversity and unity within the LGBTQIA+ community.

### The Ongoing Struggle

While Pride Month is a time for celebration, it is also a reminder that the struggle for equality and acceptance continues. Many LGBTQIA+ individuals still face discrimination, violence, and legal challenges. Issues such as transgender rights, protection against hate crimes, and healthcare access remain critical areas of advocacy.

Pride Month serves as a call to action for allies and community members alike to continue the fight for a more inclusive and equitable world. It is a time to educate ourselves, support each other, and work towards a future where everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can live openly and without fear.

### Conclusion

As we celebrate Pride Month, let’s remember the history that brought us here and the heroes who fought bravely for our rights. It is their legacy that allows us to celebrate loudly and proudly today. Whether you’re attending a parade, participating in events, or simply reflecting on the progress made, let’s honor the past and commit to a future of equality and love for all. Happy Pride Month!

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